Source: Ohio Department of Health
As weather continues to warm and Ohioans spend more time outdoors, encounters with ticks are also increasing and the Ohio Department of Health wants to update you on the status of Lyme disease in Ohio.
In 2015, ODH reported 154 cases of Lyme disease from 44 Ohio counties. Cases of Lyme disease have steadily increased in Ohio over the past 4 years (66 cases in 2012, 93 cases in 2013, 119 cases in 2013, and 154 cases in 2015) after an average of 53.5 cases reported annually for the prior 10 years (2002-11). This increase in cases coincides with the spread in Ohio of the principal vector, Ixodes scapularis (the blacklegged tick), which until recently was not known to be established in the state. This tick is now found in at least 66 Ohio counties and the Lyme disease pathogen, Borrelia burgdorferi, is endemic in at least 34 counties. ODH expects cases of Lyme disease to increase as the blacklegged tick continues to spread and become established in new areas.
To help bring awareness to tick season and Lyme disease, ODH started a statewide campaign in May consists of radio ads, billboards, and digital media. It focuses on ticks and mosquitoes. The campaign is expected to run from through October.
To better understand the epidemiology of tick-borne diseases in Ohio and to continue raising awareness, ODH would like to ensure that all cases are detected. For this reason, ODH recommends that physicians and other health care providers consider Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases in the differential diagnosis for patients who present with appropriate symptoms.
If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact the Zoonotic Disease Program by calling 614.752.1029 and asking for the tick-borne disease epidemiologist, Lynn Denny, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.